Smile Politely

The cool and commanding John Scofield

You could call John Scofield a lot of things: artist, innovator, dude. But most people call him Sco. All names aside, he is one of the greatest pioneers of modern jazz guitar. Though, the he doesn’t limit his playing and composing to just jazz. Scofield has consistently wowed crowds in a number of schools of music. Jazz, jazz-rock, blues, bebop, funk and jam are among them. If anything, the man is a virtuoso of versatility. 

Give Sco a listen. Here’s Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood with the title track from their album A Go Go.

Disclaimer: I think John Scofield is the man. So, don’t expect any objectivity from me. But just in case my opinion isn’t convincing enough, let’s look at the facts. Scofield studied at the Berklee College of Music. You basically have to be a prodigy or the closest thing to it to get into that school. With that, I think it’s safe to say Sco knows his craft. Don’t buy it yet? Check the credentials. Scofield has also played with legends like Miles Davis (I repeat: Miles fucking Davis), Chet Baker, Charles Mingus and Herbie Hancock and a slew of other extremely talented contemporary musicians. Not to mention Scofield’s body of work is huge. He has recorded dozens of solo and collaborative albums, and played as a sideman on many more.

Scofield’s music is cool and commanding. Bebop influence seeps into his sound, and a confident, jazzy attitude punctuates his style. Yet, despite his mastery of so many styles, any trace of cockiness is undetectable in his performance. Instead, Sco’s playing exudes sincerity and playfulness. I’m mean, c’mon. You’ve got to be a bit of a silly guy (in the best way) to name your songs “I Break 4 Monster Booty” and “Acidhead.” See below for further evidence:

The John Scofield Überjam Band will be performing at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Colwell Playhouse. Players Andy Hess, Avi Bortnick and Tony Mason will accompany Scofield onstage. For those who did not snag a ticket to the show, there will be a free live video of the show streaming in the Sonic Garden in the Krannert Center. Now THAT is seriously cool. So, maybe swing by, lend an ear, and listen to a true craftsman do what he does best.

Related Articles